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Trump says annual joint military drills with S. Korea to be suspended Updated: 2018-06-13 14:09:25 KST

President Trump spoke to reporters for more than an hour Tuesday, starting at 4 p.m., Singapore time, touting one of the major achievements of the historic summit.
He emphasized that his administration has not only secured the release of three American hostages, but also the return of the remains of American P-O-Ws and those missing in action during the Korean War.
The president added that he had received numerous calls and letters from the relatives of these people asking him to retrieve their loved ones' remains.
And President Trump said the repatriation process will start immediately.

"And it was pretty rough for them, to put it mildly, secured the commitment to recover the remains, including, these are of fallen heroes and they are giving a commitment, they are starting it immediately to recover the remains."

Regarding a question about whether the U.S. is willing to reduce its military capabilities in order to give North Korea the promised "security assurance" by the U.S., Trump said he will not reduce any military capabilities, but he did say that the U.S. could be halting or even ending annual joint military drills with South Korea.

"We've done exercises for a long period of time working with South Korea, and we call them war games and I call them war games and they're tremendously expensive. The amount of money that we spend on that is incredible. () I think it's inappropriate to be having war games. So number one we save money, a lot. And number two it really is something that I think they very much appreciated."

Trump also said he'd like to bring U.S. forces stationed in South Korea back to their homes in the U.S., although he stressed that now is not the time to consider that option.

"I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back. We have right now 32-thousand soldiers in South Korea. And I'd like to be able to bring them back home. But that's not part of the equation right now. At some point I hope it will be, not right now."

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, following the summit, President Trump also reiterated his position on military exercises and U.S. troops in South Korea.

"Did you talk about pulling troops out? U.S. troops out of South Korea?"

"We didn't discuss that, no. But we're not going to play the war games."

Trump added he wanted to stop the war games, saying they were very provocative and expensive.
He also said the U.S. will stop the drills, unless there is some reason to keep them.
Regarding those remarks, South Korea's defense ministry issued a statement Tuesday evening, saying that it needs to carefully look at the motivations behind what was said and did not comment further on the matter.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.
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